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Buy.com Unveils New Ad Campaign

On the heels of serious market woes, online retailer buy.com took the wraps off its new marketing and advertising campaign Wednesday.

The Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based company said its campaign is focused on "mission-oriented" shoppers, who desire a fast, no-nonsense shopping experience.

"We didn't set out to reinvent shopping, but rather to give our customers what they want -- an easy, no-nonsense shopping experience and our new campaign reinforces that," said buy.com chairman and chief executive officer Greg Hawkins.

The "Get in. Get Out" campaign is designed to position buy.com as a quick and efficient place to get great deals online. Campaign creatives humorously portray the pitfalls of shopping both in the mall and on other, unnamed e-tailers.

One of the campaign's thirty-second television executions pokes fun at mall shopping, as chock full of frivolous items and a waste of time. Another spot shows shoppers professing their "excitement" about being led astray by confusing e-commerce sites, or about being redirected to irrelevant chat rooms or to entirely different sites.

Buy.com said its new tagline, "Get in. Get out," serves to reinforce its offer of a no-nonsense buying experience.

Created by Santa Monica-based Rubin Postaer and Associates, the television campaign breaks Wednesday in key domestic markets. A national online advertising program will support the television campaign.

Previous buy.com campaigns included last year's "Why buy anywhere else?" and this year's earlier "Colors" spots, designed to help the e-tailer stand out in cluttered competitive landscape.

The $50 million buy.com account has been in flux for more than a year, since parting ways with San Francisco's Black Rocket, which handled print creative. It also worked with New York's Gotham on a portion of its TV campaign late last year.

The company has been working for some time to rebrand itself, last month commissioning a survey of men's shopping habits to boost its online value proposition as an alternative to long lines and sore feet in the mall.

The effort isn't a moment too soon, as the e-tail industry is coming under increasing fire from the investing public. Tuesday, shares of Buy.com reached a 52-week low at $1.40, 96 percent off its high of $35.44. Last week, Merrill Lynch analyst Henry Blodget cut buy.com's rating to Neutral, citing several recent failures by peers.

Critics of e-tail pure-plays often cited exorbitant marketing budgets as a hindrance to profitability. Buy.com didn't disclose spending on the "Get in. Get out" campaign, but it did vaguely suggest that its media buys were "leading a trend of more strategic and targeted advertising spending in the Internet arena."

"Buy.com knows today that the best way to reach its core customer is through a targeted advertising campaign," Hawkins said.

Company representatives did not return calls by press time seeking clarification.